A second shot for Stingily

A year ago running back Cameron Stingily came to Steelers rookie minicamp as a tryout player with a dream. The running back from Northern Illinois knew his chances were slim, but he kept his hopes high and gave his all in three days of practice.

Stingily caught the coaches attention, and the minute minicamp ended he was signed to a contract. His dream was coming true. But it wouldn't last long. Stingily injured his knee in the Hall of Fame game against the Minnesota Vikings in the preseason and later was waived injured before the regular season ever arrived.

He went from NFL player to unemployed in minutes.

"It was a humbling experience," said Stingily. "I entered the real world. I had my daughter so I had to work. I was also working out, trying to maintain and make sure I was staying in shape.

"But I had to have money to pay the bills. I worked in a warehouse. I started working for one of my former college teammate's landscaping company and I was cutting grass."

While Stingily respected the hard work, he wanted more. His missed the game he loved and wanted another shot. And the Steelers were the one team willing to give it to him.

Steelers' rookies take the field for rookie minicamp.

When the Steelers had rookie minicamp this year, Stingily was back, once again getting a tryout with the team along with others. No promises; simply a tryout.

 "They have a complete understanding about where they are in their journey and what this means and how important it is," said Coach Mike Tomlin of those who came in for tryouts. "They might not be able to express it in words. This is a culmination of a lot of work and dreams. We take it with that level of seriousness. They don't have control over what transpires here. They don't have control over what we are interested in.

"They do have control over putting their best foot forward and presenting themselves the best way and that is what I respect about the process the most. These guys are willing and capable of doing that. If our needs meet, if there is an interest, great, their journey continues here."

For Stingily, when minicamp ended his journey continued as he was one of four tryout players signed to a contract. It's a second lease at his NFL life.

"It was actually real good to get the news again," said Stingily. "I worked out all winter and to see it pay off was great. I hid the excitement more this year. I wanted it so bad. I wasn't expecting it, but I was prepared to get it. I was happy, I was extremely happy. I am still happy.

"I don't take anything for granted. Any play can be your last play. I am out here this year trying to just have fun and not feel any pressure. I just want to go out and have fun. In the NFL you can feel like you are doing well, but it's a numbers game. I can only control what I can control, and then have fun."

Stingily said the big advantage he had in rookie minicamp this year was he knew what to expect. Last year everything was flying at him. This year it was much different.

Steelers' rookies take the field for rookie minicamp.

"I was definitely more prepared this time," said Stingily. "I knew what Coach (James) Saxon was looking for. He wanted us to finish every run to the end zone. I didn't wait for him to tell me that. I wanted to start off on a good note finishing everything I did.

"It was a little easier because I knew some of the plays, I knew what to expect. I was reacting faster than I was last year."

He also came to rookie minicamp in better shape than a year ago. Last year he was 250 pounds. This year he came in between 225-230.

"I feel like I am thinking faster and running faster," said Stingily. "Coming out of college they didn't know if I was going to play running back or fullback. When I came here Coach Tomlin told he likes his backs to be big. They told me we just want you to be a big back and run the football. I still feel like I am a big back at 225. I can be what they need."

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